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Channahon Village Board Members Consider Tax Increases to Boost Revenue

Board members did not make a decision at Monday's special meeting.

Channahon Police Chief Joe Pena proposed three options to the Village Board earlier this week to increase revenue through tax hikes.

Acting in his secondary role as interim village manager, Pena outlined options for boosting Channahon's revenue including a telecommunications tax, utility gas tax and utility electric tax.

Village Board members did not make any decisions Monday about the proposed taxes, and will discuss them further at their next meeting at 6 p.m. Sept. 5. The Committee of the Whole will meet first, followed by the normal board meeting.

Telecommunications Tax

Cost per capita: $32 per year 

Revenue to the village: $400,000 in new revenue

Other information: The telecommunication tax would have to be submitted to the Department of Revenue by September to be allowed. Revenue would not be seen by the village until January at the earliest. If board members approve the telecommunications tax next month, Pena said they could rescind it in the event that revenue improves by January.

Utility Gas Tax

Cost per capita: About $35 per year (5 percent)

Revenue to the village: $437,000 per year

Other information: None

Utility Electric Tax

Cost per capita: About $23 per year

Revenue to the village: $280,000

Other information: Channahon Village Board members discussed offsetting cost to taxpayers by implementing an aggregate program that gives a fixed cost of electricity to residents who chose to receive service through a ComEd subsidiary.

Christine August 10, 2011 at 03:13 PM
Good idea. I plan to be there.
Dawn Aulet (Editor) August 10, 2011 at 03:19 PM
Just as clarification, prior to this discussion, board members did cut $220,000 from the budget by cutting staff.
ChannGuy August 10, 2011 at 03:19 PM
Yes, as Bob pointed out - our taxes are too high because of a lack of businesses. That's not something that will be fixed overnight, nor is it a guarantee of lower taxes. The difference in a family reducing their spending and a city reducing its spending is the city reduction is going to take something away from all people. Sure, we've (families) had to cut back on things like dining out and cable TV - but what should we as a community cut back on? I think we need to discuss that before we can just start yelling "cut spending." There are those that will say any tax is too much tax, but the .5239 I pay to the Village is WAAAY better than a lot of municipalities - check out Lockport, Homewood, or Tinley Park if you think we have it bad.
Christine August 10, 2011 at 03:40 PM
That's a good start.
Christine August 10, 2011 at 03:44 PM
Look around. Channahon is a nice town most people would be happy with. Again, those who have no real argument other than scare tactics will try to get you to believe you can't live without all the extras we have. You can. Think outside the box. Raising taxes should not be the first idea. It should be the last. And, I don't live in Lockport, Homewood, or Tinley Park, so I'm not interested in what those people tolerate. See you at the meeting.
ChannGuy August 10, 2011 at 03:51 PM
Since I feel like I'm being accused of using "scare tactics" here, Christine let me ask you - what are these "Extras" that we have? Perhaps if you name them, we can agree on which ones we don't need? To clarify, I do not WANT to pay more taxes - but if $23-35 is going to make this a better place in some specific way, I'm not going to vehemently oppose it.
Opinionated August 10, 2011 at 04:17 PM
Our leadership has failed us. A development plan should have been revised to work with the changing economy and attract different businesses. Don't tell me you can't do that. Look what Minooka did by being innovative, acknowledging their truck traffic and approving the warehouses, distribution facilities and revising the traffic patterns. We need more businesses. I hate to say it, but our police force needs to be reviewed (yeah I'm prepared for the criticism). We have enough police to have 3 officers at every traffic stop, for a town this small? I think we could be more productive and efficient. Much more dangerous towns never have that support for simple traffic stops with no impact to officer safety. So lets see we have enough cops for 3 officers at each traffic stop yet, there are constant backups on Route 6 due to the illegal left turns out of Pilot. Where are the priorities? We will never attract businesses if we cannot run departments efficiently and keep traffic moving. Until I see Channahon doing everything they can do improve efficiencies and attract new businesses then they don't need more money. Prove to the residents that you can do right by us with the money you have before taking more.....
ChannGuy August 10, 2011 at 04:23 PM
That's one option (though controversial) - reduce police staffing. I think the readers of patch should come up with a list of suggestions of things to cut, and take that to the village board meeting. Giving them a list of ways the community thinks money could be saved will probably have a bigger impact than a handful of people showing up to the meeting saying "I don't want to pay more taxes."
Opinionated August 10, 2011 at 05:40 PM
Reducing police staffing is controversial, but does affect the bottom line. What I would hope for is more efficient use of the police force. If we have that many police that can assist with a traffic stop then we should not have ANY other issues in town at the time. I consistently see multiple officers at a stop, while there are traffic congestions either at the high school in the morning or at the truck stop in the afternoon. It would also be nice to have more friendly officers. I have only had one officer wave while driving through my neighborhood, and this is after living here six years!!!
Christine August 10, 2011 at 08:01 PM
Well, ChannGuy, you seem to have all the answers, so why don't you provide me with a list? I have no problem prioritizing needs versus wants, and I have a supply of red pencils handy. The problem I have with you shifting the subject is that it isn't productive. Instead of arguing about whether we should raise taxes (during one of the worst ecomic periods since the Depression) or not, why don't we talk about what the Village President and board want that would require more money in the first place? And, is spending more money in this economy justified for any reason? You mentioned that belt-tightening by private citizens is necessary, but belt-tightening by governments is sometimes impossible. Hogwash.
Christine August 10, 2011 at 08:06 PM
ChannGuy, I would welcome that list, but you must realize we elect people to act in our stead with common sense. Our country has gone astray when our leaders claim we must spend, spend, spend. Go into debt to get the things that really matter. I disagree. But, I come from a very different background. We don't buy things we cannot afford, and neither should the federal, state and local governments.
ChannGuy August 10, 2011 at 08:19 PM
Christine, I too favor fiscal conservatism and living within your means (be it personal, business, or government finance). I think the issue at play is not that they need more money for more things, but the things we have been being provided haven't dropped in price just because revenues are down. It will still cost the Village the same amount to do business as it did before the recession - but now that house values are down a different tax may need to be imposed to make up the shortfall (after cuts). I can't give you a list of possible cuts, because as I said above, I don't see the Village doing anything around town that is exorbitant or unnecessary.
Woody August 10, 2011 at 08:29 PM
woody what are all you commenters afraid of. why dont you use your name or are you afraid of your co mments.see all of you at the meeting on th 5th. al wood
Christine August 10, 2011 at 08:33 PM
ChannGuy, you are implying that our village is spending money on the bare minimum of necessities.
ChannGuy August 10, 2011 at 08:40 PM
You said: "to believe you can't live without all the extras we have." I am simply stating, I do not see these "extras" that we have that any other city does not provide.
Christine August 10, 2011 at 08:50 PM
That is correct, ChannGuy, you do not see the extras we have.
ChannGuy August 10, 2011 at 08:54 PM
Exactly what I said! Also, what I asked you to list. I'm still waiting to find out what these extras are.
Christine August 10, 2011 at 09:24 PM
I was being sarcastic. To address your question, how about the roads in the The Highlands. They did not need to be replaced last year, but they were replaced anyway. Also, do we really need signs to announce the unnecessary roadwork that we are borrowing money to pay for? How about the schools? I've seen the stuff that goes into dumpsters. What a waste. I hate to tell you what I spend to fully educate two kids. It would make you sick when you consider what you're paying the schools in property taxes. But, I don't have to deal with unions or extravagent buildings. And how about the burying of the sump pump pipes that all my neighbors got for free a few years after I paid a landscaper to bury ours? Why is the village coughing up for that? Any answer, ChannGuy? Or is that a necessity, in your eyes?
ChannGuy August 10, 2011 at 09:36 PM
First, cross off anything school or education related - that doesn't have to do with the Village. Those districts are separate (wasteful) entities. I think the signs you are talking about for roadwork were the ones provided by the federal government from that "rebuilding America," "putting America to work" or whatever it was. Maybe not useful use of borrowed money for sure, but it has nothing to do with the Village's budget situation. If the Fed was throwing away money for projects, I'm glad our officials grabbed some for us. Roads - they are almost all horrible around Channahon. I bet there is at least someone up there that is glad they were repaired, and thought it necessary to do so. I don't live in the highlands, but from the people I've talked to with repeated flooded basements - maybe it was necessary to address drainage lines. I'm not an engineer and can't deem if those things are necessary, are you?
Christine August 10, 2011 at 09:58 PM
"If the Fed was throwing away money for projects, I'm glad our officials grabbed some for us." It's this kind of disgraceful attitude that has this country in a pickle. Maybe the rioters in London felt the same way. The roads in Channahon are perfectly fine (I just put 9,000 miles on my car in 6 months, so I use them frequently). So, if there is at least one person who is glad the roads are perfect, then the expense is justified? Don't come to my house. We make things L-A-S-T till they're really ready for the landfill. (Which is why my last car was 12 years old with 200,000 miles on - still going strong and is my husband's work car.) Frugality is necessary and smart, and that goes for the Village, too.
Angelique August 11, 2011 at 01:49 AM
You aren't kidding about the schools being wasteful and the disgustingly high fees! After the new High school was built, my daughter was in the first attending class there and comes home to tell me that there's flat-panel TV's in EVERY classroom, ok, fine I guess they're just progressing with technology, however, at the end of the school year, my daughter and a bunch of her friends were all talking about how not one of them ever saw one of those TV's on or used......in fact, one girl thought they were just "dummy" Tv's like a store display! That is just ONE hugely unnecessary expense stuck to the taxpayers! oh & does the police force REALLY need brand new vehicles every two years? Did the powers-that-be in city hall REALLY need that $9000. conference table? What was wrong with a USED conference table for a couple hundred bucks? Pffft.
Bob August 11, 2011 at 03:44 AM
I have to agree about the police, they are the most unfriendliest people in the village, all these officers need to realize is that what you are taught in the academy does not always prove true in real life. remember 90% of the people you meet everyday are not criminals so don't treat us as such
Dawn Kaluzny August 13, 2011 at 12:08 PM
I will vote no on any tax increase for any reason. Cutting staff by $200,000+ was a commendable start, but I'm sure more cutting and cost controls can happen if we take a closer look.
Luke August 16, 2011 at 02:35 AM
Why does government feel they have a right to our money? Times are tough, largely because of government, but it seems they just want more from us. Our property values are at least 10% less than a few years ago. I'm in construction so each month is a struggle just to get by. We have to make hard choices to get thru each month, but Channahon wants more, the state wants more, Washington wants more. God forbid they get by with less. If they raise taxes I for one will make sure in the end they don't get more from me. I'll take ALL my business elsewhere. No gas, dinners, groceries, no purchases in Channahon. They may get taxes from me one way but I'll take it away some other way. I can't double my rates because I'm only working half the time I have to get by with what I have. It's about time they did the same. I for one am sick and tired of government thinking my families money is theirs to spend.
Bob August 16, 2011 at 12:22 PM
What the village needs are long term solutions, not just a knee jerk reaction to quick business fixes like pilot, and then have to live with the results. I believe this village would allow a waste dump in the Highlands by the river if they could get revenue from it. Everyone here has an idea, if the next board meeting is published here we all need to tell this administration in person exactly how they have failed us.
Luke August 16, 2011 at 01:56 PM
How did Chief Pena end up as village manager? He has all he can handle as chief. He can't even keep 80' semis from turning left out of Pilot or parking along the road right next to the "no parking along highway signs", They even park in the middle of the road to run into pilot.
Angelique August 17, 2011 at 05:17 AM
WTF!? HOW many foreclosures have happened in Channahon already in the past two years? When are they going to get it?? The property taxes already squeezed my husband's brother and his family out of their home last year......In January 2006 he bought his first home, had it built in Hunter's Crossing for $228K and his monthly mortgage payment in the beginning was only $1460. His mortgage company required that property taxes be paid through them, which kinda screwed him....... By 12/06 his monthly mortgage payment had jumped to $1718.61 with the property taxes being $1266.60/yr. By 12/07 his monthly mortgage payment jumped to $2207.91 because the property taxes jumped to $3995.22/yr. By 12/08 the mortgage payment had jumped to $2413.47 because the property taxes jumped to $6272.10/yr. Of course, he began to fall behind, even though he was working two jobs and his wife was working as well.......this was around the same time that the gas prices shot up, and the price of everything else rose because of it.....groceries, clothing, etc. (funny how when the gas prices went back down, the cost of groceries never did.....the only thing that "went down" there was volume....did you notice that the cans of coffee were smaller, sugar no longer came in 5 lb bags, but now 4 lb, ice cream shrunk from 1/2 gallon to a third of that size, yet the prices all stayed jacked up?) (Continued)
Angelique August 17, 2011 at 05:26 AM
So anyway, he called the assessor's office and found out that apparently, counties in Illinois (I'm not sure if it's the same everywhere) are able to base the current property taxes on what the home's value was three years prior -- which at the time, was at the PEAK of the real estate market/boom! What is especially disturbing is that his purchase price for that home, only four before, was $228K, and in 2010 there were three of the SAME EXACT model homes as his, same number of rooms, square footage, etc. listed for sale in Channahon with asking prices between $167,000. and $169,900. His home dropped at least $59, to $61,000 in value in only four years! The thing is, with all those foreclosures happening, that's tax revenue lost.....so where is that money going to come from now?? I guess Channahon is going to bleed dry everyone who's left and already worn financially thin, and most likely cause MORE foreclosures if they jack up taxes on everything else. How STUPID! Who/what are they going to tax if there's nobody left living here??
Luke August 17, 2011 at 02:13 PM
My taxes have doubled in the 16 years we've lived here. DOUBLED. but my property is worth about 30% more, and falling. In 2009 we received a letter from the supervisor of assessments (I'm sure eveyone did) that explained property values don't matter. They figure out how much money they need then adjust the rate to get that amount. So regardless of your property value they figure out a way to get what they need from you so they can spend as much as they want. It should be the other way around. The rates should be set and they should have to get by on that each year. if property values go down then the amout we pay should to. Property values are a sign of the strength in the economy. Maybe I'm being selfish, the gov. obviously needs the money more than my family does. They've got all those pensions to pay for. All those hard working state, county and local workers deserve it. Its not their problem if I have no pension and have to save for myself. Its a joke. Bend over people this is Illinois.
Tom August 22, 2011 at 10:28 PM
How is Pena qualified to make a suggestion like this? I am relatively new to the area and he could be some kind of financial, city planning wizard that has multiple degrees in finance, accounting, law enforcement, etc., but I highly doubt it. One thing to keep in mind here is that the city is not looking for new money here. They are trying to fill the gap from lost revenue due to the housing bubble (no new building permits, stagnant property tax base, decreasing property taxes, etc.). The past couple of years they used up the cities reserves, which is not bright in my opinion. It sounds like the don't want to make tough decisions, like reducing the salaries of city employees and reducing any reliance on outside consultants. The city needs to mirror what is happening to the people, which is to work harder and make less. This is not going to change anytime soon and if the city can't make these decisions now (even they needed to be made 2 yrs ago), then people need to move if they can or get in to these meetings and raise hell. These people can't continue denying reality.

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